Getac PS535E review

Price when reviewed

Getac’s latest PS535E not only claims to be the most rugged PDA on the market, but is also the most feature packed. And if that isn’t enough the company also rates it as having the smallest footprint of them all.

Getac PS535E review

With the PS535E firmly clamped in our palm we certainly can’t disagree, since its magnesium-alloy case has

a bulletproof feel to it, and weighing only 300g it’s easy on the arms as well. The PS535E is aimed at a wide range of outdoor types, such as engineers and construction workers, land surveyors and the military, and so needs to be as hard as nails to cope with the demands.

An ingress protection rating of IP54 means dust won’t interfere with its internals and it can withstand splashed water, so it will work happily in our delightful British weather. It meets the MIL-STD-810F US military standard, which tests it with repeated drops onto hard surfaces, prolonged vibration, high humidity and pressure and so on, so you know it can cope with a few hard knocks.

The case is further protected by

a rubber ring around its edge plus caps on each corner, and all input sockets also have rubber plugs in place to keep them sealed when not in use. A slower USB1.1 port is located underneath

a large seal at the base, which doubles up as a charger socket, although we did find the seal occasionally needed some persuasion before it would sit properly. On the left side is a headphone socket, and above is a screwed-down cover with an SD memory slot behind it.

Along with wireless and Bluetooth, the PS535E incorporates a GPS receiver that can be used with the bundled Taclink satellite positioning software or your own applications. A socket is also provided for an optional GPS antenna for improving reception.

The Li-ion battery is quoted as good for up to eight hours of normal use. We tested this by keeping the PDA powered up permanently, and achieved 7hrs 30mins before the battery meter went into the red. Getac impresses with its sunlight readable screens and the PS535E is no exception. The stylus made light work of all operations, and we could see the screen contents clearly even in very bright sunlight. The control pad below the screen comprises three programmable buttons plus a power switch with a small joystick in the centre.

The PS535E comes with Windows Mobile 5 installed and Getac advised us that it provides this older version since the majority of its clients prefer to use tried-and-tested versions of the OS to ensure compatibility with their own apps. You also get a decent software bundle that includes mobile versions of Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Using the supplied USB cable, we found Windows Vista identified the PS535E as a mobile network device and worked fine with ActiveSync 4.5 where we could keep our diary, tasks and calendar synchronised between the two devices. We also had no problems connecting to a variety of wireless APs for internet access.

The PS535E is one tough customer and for such a solidly built PDA it’s also well priced. It’s highly suited to a range of outdoor activities and offers a good specification that includes a quality sunlight-readable screen.

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